VITO and TERI’s biennial congress on sustainable entrepreneurship was opened on September 1st, 2014 by none other than Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group.
The flamboyant Branson, already a daring entrepreneur at a very young age, was the ideal figurehead for the congress. His record label Virgin Records, founded in 1970, resulted in the global imperium Virgin Group, which has, as of 2015, an airline, a commercial space travel company and a phone service under its wings. In his opening speech at i-SUP 2014, Branson emphasised that innovation and ambitious entrepreneurship are key factors for success. In particular, he mentioned sustainable entrepreneurship, an area where, according to Branson, crucial decisions need to be made if we want to ensure the future of our planet.
Subsequently, Branson debated with several experts: Norwegian Arild Rodland on deep geothermy as a sustainable energy source, Indian-American economist Rajendra Pachauri (until recently chairman of IPCC) on democratic sustainability, and Belgian ESA astronaut Frank De Winne on the future of space travel.